Kumaraswamy announces Rs. 34,000 cr. farm loan waiver

To garner resources to waive loans from cooperative and nationalised banks, the budget proposes to increase tax on petrol from the present 30% to 32% and diesel from 19% to 21%. Hence, petrol price will increase by Rs. 1.14 per ltr and diesel by Rs. 1.12 per ltr. Tax on liquor has been increased by 4% and on consumption of electricity by 3%, from 6% to 9%.

The Chief Minister defended the hike saying that fuel prices are lower in Karnataka when compared to neighbouring States of south India.

He said he had managed to pull off the loan waiver while staying within the parameters of the Karnataka Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Districts of Hassan, Mandya, Ramanagaram, Mysuru, Chickballapur, and Tumakuru have received a big bonanza in the budget. While there are not many new projects for Bengaluru, the budget earmarks Rs. 1,000 crore for the first phase of a mega project to build a network of elevated corridors in the city, totalling to 95 km, linking opposite ends of the city. To compete with Chinese toys/products, the budget proposes incentives to domestic manufactures, on the lines of Make in India. A new scheme — Kayaka — was announced to enhance skill development and entrepreneurship quality in SHGs.

Under this, interest-free loans up to Rs. 5 lakh and 4% interest loan between Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 lakh will be fixed. A sum of Rs. 5 crore has been set aside to support 3,000 SHGs. Some of the major institutions/initiatives included in budget are a sports and body building university in Tumakuru; Homeland Security University in Shivamogga; Tourism University at Hampi; film university in Ramanagaram; medical college at Kanakapura in Ramanagaram; international science centre at Chickballapur, and Rs. 50 crore package for development of Mandya city.

The budget, with a revenue surplus estimated at Rs. 106 crore, however, has no mention of a plan or details on the vision of the coalition government that hopes to rule the State for a five-year term.

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